Once a year, my mother, sister and I embark on a mini vacation together. We've been to places like Quebec City, Toronto, Victoria and Las Vegas - short trips that always include lots of laughs, good food and new adventures. But I started thinking: why wait an entire year before spending some quality time together? While my sister couldn't make this one, my mom and I hit the road to take a little summer getaway to South Beach Casino & Resort

Beach it up at Patricia Beach Provincial Park

With a sunny, clear day ahead, we got started bright and early and decided to check out nearby Patricia Beach Provincial Park, located just 10 minutes past South Beach Casino & Resort when driving in from Winnipeg. This little oasis is lined by trees, with a vast strip of sand that stretches along Lake Winnipeg. We had a few hours entirely to ourselves, which allowed the stresses from the week to melt away to the soft sound of water hitting the shoreline. If you're spending the entire day, there's also a snack shack called Sandy's located right off the beach near the parking lot.

Patricia Beach Provincial Park

The sand here had the ideal consistency and weight for sand castles (and sandmen) - so if you have kids (or just a creative spirit) - bring those buckets! 

Lunch at Blue Dolphin Lounge

While it wasn't yet time for check in, we made our way to South Beach Casino & Resort for a lunch at Blue Dolphin Lounge. Situated in the casino, the Blue Dolphin Lounge was ideal for my mom; an avid people-watcher who was quite happy sitting on the edge of the lounge with a great vantage point to see lucky casino-goers win big. We indulged for lunch, ordering nachos (FYI: the small is a great value and perfect for sharing between two people as an appetizer), fish & chips and a turkey dinner clubhouse with sweet cranberry sauce. 

Check in: Deluxe room, deluxe pool! 

After lunch, it was time to check out the room! Check in was a breeze, made even better with an inviting lobby and friendly staff. We had the deluxe king room, which certainly reinforced that staycation feel. The room had beautiful linens, a great seating area, two televisions, a large bathroom and a luxurious jacuzzi tub.

After dropping our bags off in the room, we took the opportunity to explore the hotel a bit more. Located in the lobby, the South Beach Cafe looked to be ideal for morning grab-and-go options (especially if you're heading to the beach). But it was the tropical pool that caught our eye the most! The pool area was nicely heated with large windows that provided tons of natural sunlight. A water feature trickled from the ceiling and created a serene, spa-like feel.

Hiking break on the Brokenhead Wetland Interpretive Trail

Anyone who has doubts that a hike can be highly relaxing can be easily proved wrong with a visit to the Brokenhead Wetland Interpretive Trail. Located just 7 minutes from South Beach Casino & Resort, the trail is easy to find and great for people of all hiking levels. But beautiful scenery and accessibility isn't just what this trail has to offer: it's also located on a sacred area for the Ojibway, and treated accordingly. Upon entering the trail, we had the opportunity to read Ojibway teachings in both English and Anishinaabemowin. This messaging on respect, purpose and balance continued throughout the trail, along with information of the traditional medicines found in the area. 

Buffet feasts and slot machines

Did you know that South Beach Casino & Resort offers a Customer Appreciation Buffet every Tuesday evening? That means if you have 5+ hours of rated play that week at the casino, you can enjoy a FREE buffet at Mango's Restaurant. On our visit, the buffet consisted of a variety of meat dishes (chicken drumsticks, pork and steak bites), cheese tortellini, rice, potatoes, and a huge array of dessert options. Buffets also happen to be ideal when you're eager to get back out into the casino to test lady luck. 

Back to the beach! Grand Beach Provincial Park

After a restful sleep, we were eager to get up and make the most of the final day of our mini vacation. After a hearty and delicious breakfast at Mango's Restaurant, we bid adieu to South Beach Casino & Resort and headed to one of the most popular beaches in the province. Grand Beach Provincial Park is located just 20 minutes from the hotel, making it easy to spend a few hours there after check out. No surprise, we adored the soft sand and the boardwalk equipped with ice cream stands and several beachy shops.

On the ride home, my mom remarked on how much she enjoyed the hotel, the beaches, and most importantly, spending time with her favourite daughter (just don't tell my sister). Looks like South Beach Casino & Resort might just need to become a new yearly tradition!

Travel Manitoba was hosted by South Beach Casino & Resort, who did not review or approve the content of this story. #tmbpartner